Satan, part 1 of a series

I was just listening to back podcasts from the Thinking Atheist. One of them was a special episode on Satanism. For the most part, it was concerned with the Satanism of Anton Szandor Lavey, known appropriately as Laveyan Satanism. It seemed that the conclusion was that Laveyan Satanists were mostly atheists or agnostics who liked drama and dress up.

In my teenage years, before I accepted Christianity, I read Lavey’s notorious Satanic Bible. Certainly there is plenty one could object to. Much of the philosophy is nearly identical to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, or the thoughts of such other ultra individualists and egoists as Max Stirner or Ragnar Redbeard. If you don’t find those palatable, there is probably nothing for you in Laveyan Satanism. As far as my own encounter with Lavey went,  I was entertained by his bold, over the top writing style. But overall, it just appeared to me to be yet another vaguely counter cultural self help philosophy in a market flooded with them. It was no more evil or “satanic” than most of the others, and less so than a few.

I am hardly the first to notice that when it comes to the limitless expression of human evil and perversity, Satanism–and indeed the Dark Lord Himself–are completely superfluous. Any evil you or anyone can conceive of can be and has been justified by any of the major “respectable” religions. Child sacrifice? What do you call it when parents refuse their children adequate medical treatment in order to obey or “prove” their religion’s doctrines concerning faith healing? And this without even mentioning all the parents who kill or harm their children to get “the devil” out of them. What religion doesn’t have a “little problem” with the (usually male) authority figures who abuse and molest children or degrade women while still managing to think of themselves as decent sorts? If anything, they owe His Satanic Majesty for giving them the all purpose get out of jail free card, “the devil made me do it.” Even assuming that a personal devil does exist, he has found a home in Christianity and other organized religions. He doesn’t need his own organization.

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